Allegiant Air Flight Attendants Vote For Union Representation


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Allegiant Air Flight Attendants Vote For Union Representation

Steve Hall

December 28, 2010 - A majority of flight attendants at Allegiant Air have voted yes in favor of union representation, the National Mediation Board (NMB) reported.

These will be the first unionized workers at the fast growing airline and this vote marks the first time flight attendants have voted in favor of a union under the new federal rules that call for a simple majority decision in airline and railroad union representation elections. 

Allegiant Air is an American low-cost airline owned by Allegiant Travel that operates scheduled and charter flights. It is a publicly traded company with 1,300 employees and one billon USD market capitalization. The airline also offers vacation packages through its Allegiant Vacations affiliate.

Orlando International Airport became an Allegiant focus city on February 1, 2010, as well as continued service at Orlando Sanford International Airport. The airline will close its focus city operation at MCO on February 1, 2011. Grand Rapids, Michigan, became Allegiant's newest focus city at Gerald R. Ford International Airport on April 27, 2010.

Allegiant flight dispatchers, who also have petitioned for TWU representation, are in the process of voting and their balloting will conclude on January 24th, 2011 Flight attendant voting, which took place by telephone and Internet, began on November 30 and concluded today. Two hundred and twenty flight attendants 61.6 percent voted in favor of TWU representation, with 137 38.4 percent voting against. ?This is great news!? said Karen McKenna an Allegiant Air flight attendant based in Las Vegas. ?We showed each other that when we stick together, we can make a difference.? 

?Allegiant is a good place to work, and now it?s going to get better,? said Kristi Cohen, an Allegiant flight attendant who is also based in Las Vegas. ?Now we?ve got a voice on the job ? which means we can do an even better job of providing great service to our customers. Once we can negotiate about our schedules, work rules, and other issues, we?ll be full partners in growing the business.? 

Approximately 400 flight attendants work at Allegiant Air, which flies to popular travel destinations coast to coast. They will join more than 9,400 TWU flight attendant members who work at Southwest Airlines. TWU?s ranks are likely to grow significantly next year as Southwest completes its acquisition of AirTran. TWU also has major organizing campaigns underway at Virgin America and JetBlue.


?This is the reason you get involved in the union movement, to help more workers have a voice,? said TWU International President James C. Little. ?We?re excited to welcome a terrific group of workers to the TWU family, and to build on the success we?ve had at Southwest.? Allegiant managers, Little said, ?ran a very aggressive ?vote no? campaign, which is typical of most employers. Allegiant flight attendants did a great job standing up for what they believe in. Now we?re looking forward to the results of the dispatchers? vote,? said Little, ?and to helping Allegiant flight attendants set up a bargaining committee and begin the process of negotiating their first contract.? 

Allegiant was founded in 1997 under the name WestJet Express. After a trademark dispute with West Jet Air Center of Rapid City, South Dakota, and with the name's similarity to WestJet Airlines of Canada, the airline adopted the name Allegiant Air and received its operating certificate for scheduled and charter domestic operations in 1998. The airline also has authority for charter service to Canada and Mexico.  

Wholly owned by Allegiant Travel, the airline now has over 1,300 employees. Some airport officials have criticized Allegiant for shutting down routes or leaving markets quickly if they are not immediately profitable. In Kinston, North Carolina, the airport authority invested $60,000 for advertising Allegiant's routes and asserted that the load factor was 90% or better. However, they contend that the airline left the market when it did not earn enough ancillary revenue after only one year. 

In Columbia, South Carolina, the carrier departed in February 2007 after less than two months of daily flights to St. Petersburg, Florida as loads started at 3/4 full and then dropped to half full by February. Allegiant returned to Columbia in February 2009, but has since pulled out again as of late 2009.


The airport director in Worcester, Massachusetts, felt that Allegiant reneged on a commitment to serve the airport for five years given the use of federal grants to assist its startup. However, the airline replied that the market was immediately unprofitable and starting service there was a poor decision; flights were reported to be 80% full. Allegiant's flights average 90% full. The US Department of Transportation also cited the airline in 2009 for not including its "convenience fee" in the initial price quote on the website.

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